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In anticipation of the 2019 Federal Election, the Métis Nation of Ontario contacted the Federal Political Parties with a series of questions related to their relationship with MNO and their positions on Métis issues more generally.
At this time we have only received a response from the Liberal Party, those answers are included below as well as a summary of the other Parties' official stances on issues affecting Métis people obtained from their published platforms.
Please note that we will update this memo should any further responses be received.
How does your Party plan to work with the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and its governing institutions on a government-to-government basis to address Métis Section 35 rights and advance policy priorities and interests that will impact Métis families and communities?
We have made significant progress over the last four years on the things that matter to the Métis Nation in Ontario. However, the future of Canada’s relationship with the Métis Nation in Ontario, and our ongoing journey of reconciliation, transcends any one government. The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to building on our shared success over the past four years and continuing to move forward, to a place where the Métis Nation in Ontario is in control of their own destiny and making their own decisions about their future.
A re-elected Liberal government will move forward with introducing co-developed legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as government legislation by the end of 2020. In this work, we will work with the Métis Nation of Ontario to ensure that this legislation fully respects the intent of the Declaration, and establishes Bill C-262 as the floor, rather than the ceiling, when it comes to drafting this new legislation.
We will host a First Ministers’ Meeting on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation priorities, and continue to advance meaningful inclusion of Métis Nation partners in federal and inter-governmental decision-making processes that have an impact on Indigenous rights and interests. We will also continue to make progress on Métis Nation of Ontario priorities, meeting regularly through the Canada- Métis Accord, and annual Crown-Métis Nation Summits.
Moreover, to ensure that Canada implements the spirit and intent of Treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements, a re-elected Liberal government will move forward with a new co-developed, distinctions-based process for the ongoing review, maintenance, and enforcement of Canada’s treaty obligations between the Crown and Indigenous communities. This work will be supported by a new National Treaty Commissioner’s Office which will be designed and established with Indigenous partners, including the Métis Nation of Ontario.
We will also continue to work in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario through the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement and advance reconciliation with MNO citizens in Northwestern Ontario through the Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Métis Community.
How will your Party work to advance reconciliation through the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement as well as address outstanding claims as per the Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Métis Community?
On February 3, 2017, our government and the Métis Nation of Ontario signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Reconciliation. This set the stage for exploratory discussions with a view to identifying a mutually acceptable path to advance reconciliation between the Crown and Métis in Ontario as represented by the Métis Nation of Ontario, in which the Government of Ontario was invited to participate. These discussions led to the signing of the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement. A re-elected Liberal government will continue to work in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Government of Ontario to foster reconciliation and build stronger relationships through a co-operative and respectful dialogue as outlined in the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement. We are committed to continuing to negotiate with the Métis Nation of Ontario and Government of Ontario toward shared and balanced solutions that advance reconciliation and enhance the well-being of Métis Nation of Ontario citizens.
We also remain committed to advancing reconciliation with a view to settling any outstanding claims of the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community, including any Métis collective claims relating to the Treaty 3 Adhesion of 1875, through the negotiations established through the Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Métis Community. Through these negotiations, we will work to address these outstanding claims and enhance the interests and well-being of Métis Nation of Ontario rights bearing citizens from the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community.
How will your Party work with MNO to advance the priorities and commitments contained within the MNO-Canada Government Recognition and Self Government Agreement (MGRSA)?
It was our government that signed the historic Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement with the Métis Nation of Ontario in June of 2019. While the Métis Nation of Ontario already has well-established province-wide governance structures, the agreement dealt with the recognition of Métis jurisdiction in core governance areas (citizenship, leadership selection and government operations). It also set out processes for negotiating other agreements dealing with additional areas of jurisdiction in the future. This agreement affirmed the Métis right of self-government, recognized the mandate the Métis Nation of Ontario and also set out next steps to formally recognize your Métis government as an Indigenous government in Canadian law. A re-elected Liberal government will continue the work of advancing and accelerating self-determination with the Métis Nation of Ontario, including through future self-government legislation.
Will your Party support a biennial leadership summit between MNO and Canada and ensure Métis government leadership is an active contributor to other relevant inter-ministerial tables?
Our government has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to a strong relationship between our cabinet and the Métis Nation of Ontario’s leadership and a re-elected Liberal government will continue to work toward strengthening that partnership and to co-developing future policies for the mutual benefit of the Métis Nation in Ontario and all Canadians. A re-elected Liberal government will continue to make progress on Métis Nation of Ontario priorities, meeting regularly through the Canada- Métis Accord, and annual Crown-Métis Nation Summits. We will also host a First Ministers’ Meeting on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation priorities, and will continue to advance meaningful inclusion of Métis Nation partners in federal and inter-governmental decision-making processes that have an impact on Indigenous rights and interests. A re-elected Liberal government will work in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario to establish a biennial leadership summit between MNO and Canada and will continue to ensure Métis government leadership is an active contributor to other relevant inter-ministerial tables.
What investments is your Party planning that will bring measurable benefits to Métis families and communities and are you committed to funding arrangements that support reliable, multi-year, flexible and accountable processes?
Building on the significant investments our government has already made to support Métis Nation of Ontario priorities, including in the areas of housing, skills and training, early learning and child care, governance capacity, economic development, Métis veterans, post-secondary education, and language revitalization, a re-elected Liberal government will move forward – in close collaboration with the Métis Nation of Ontario – to continue to deliver better and more timely distinctions-based support. We will continue to invest in the things that make a real difference in the lives of the Métis Nation in Ontario and its communities.
To address the infrastructure deficit, we will co-develop and invest in distinctions-based community infrastructure plans, and will move forward with addressing critical infrastructure needs – such as housing, all-weather roads, high-speed internet, health facilities, treatment centres, and schools – in Métis Nation communities in Ontario by 2030. We will also move forward with new investments to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of this infrastructure. We will co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous Health legislation – backed with the investments needed to deliver this care – and the development and delivery of services for the Métis Nation communities in Ontario.
From ore to oil to natural gas, Canada is rich in natural resources – but for too long, the Métis Nation has been excluded from the benefits that come along with developing those resources. We will work in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario to establish a new national benefits-sharing framework to ensure that Métis Nation communities in Ontario directly benefit from major resource projects. A re-elected Liberal government will also support economic development in your communities by moving forward with a new target to have at least five percent of federal contracts awarded to businesses led by Indigenous Peoples.
A re-elected Liberal government will work with the Métis Nation of Ontario to ensure that the Indigenous Languages Act is fully implemented, in order to preserve, promote, and revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada, including Michif, supported with long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding. We will also ensure that the Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Children, Youth and Families is fully implemented, with long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding to support the full implementation of the Act.
We are committed to continuing to deliver measurable benefits to Métis Nation families and communities in Ontario through funding arrangements that support reliable, multi-year, flexible and accountable processes.
How has your Party worked to advance Métis issues and engage MNO in the past?
In 2017 our government achieved a major milestone in our important joint work with the Métis Nation of Ontario with the signing of the historic Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation with the Métis Nation of Ontario and Government of Ontario. This agreement set out the foundation for ongoing negotiations toward shared and balanced solutions that advance reconciliation and enhance the well-being of Métis Nation of Ontario citizens. In December 2017 our government and the Métis Nation of Ontario also signed the Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community. Through this Agreement we are working together toward a shared solution that addresses the unique history and outstanding claims of that Métis Nation community.
In June of 2019 we further advanced our commitment to renewing nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationships with the Métis Nation of Ontario, based on affirmaton of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, signing the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement with the Métis Nation of Ontario. Through this historic agreement, our government took a fundamental step to advance reconciliation and transform our relationship with the Métis Nation of Ontario to accelerate self-determination and strengthen our government-to-government relationship.
Through successive budgets we have also made investments in the things that make a real difference in the lives of the Métis Nation of Ontario citizens and its communities. These include:
We will continue – in close collaboration with the Métis Nation of Ontario – to deliver better and more timely distinctions-based support by investing in the things that make a real difference in the lives of Métis Nation citizens and communities in Ontario.
Our Government is working with our partners to accelerate progress on all 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we have made significant progress on the Calls to Action under federal or shared responsibility. We are committed to continuing to work with the Métis Nation to fully implement all the Calls to Action. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples charts a path “for reconciliation to flourish in 21st century Canada”.
The Liberal Party is also committed to ending the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Upon forming government, we took immediate action, launching an independent public inquiry – the first of its kind – so that the families and loved ones could finally get the answers they have been waiting for. Our response to the National Inquiry’s interim report was substantive and included investments in women’s shelters, housing, education, safety on the Highway of Tears, and reform of Indigenous child welfare. It also included nearly $50 million in new funding to provide health and support services to survivors and their families; for a national investigative body at the RCMP, and to support a review of police policies and practices. We thank the Commission for its final report identifying systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, and for their substantive recommendations regarding a path forward. We are committed to working with the Métis Nation to develop a national action plan – as called for by the Inquiry – to implement its calls for justice, which is distinctions–based and flexible.
In museums across Canada and around the world, items that are valuable and culturally significant to the Métis Nation are on display or locked in storage. We will move forward – in partnership with the Métis Nation – to develop a framework for repatriating Métis cultural property and ancestral remains. We will also provide federal support for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Métis Nation entering Confederation.
New Democratic Party
According to the NDP’s statements, the party is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and upholding Métis-specific rights and self-determination. The NDP recognizes Métis self-determination in government and will be working with the Métis National Council and its governing members on a government-to-government basis to advance priority issues such as self-government, education, housing and health. The NDP will also address the legacy of colonization and Survivors of the residential schools, by establishing a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as per the TRC’s Call to Action.
Access to adequate, reliable health care is also a priority for the NDP, which includes closing the health gap and providing Métis with pathways to mental health services. The NDP is also committed to recognizing the needs of and seeking justice on behalf of the residential school Métis Survivors under its policy on reconciliation and justice.
Housing has been identified as a critical issue by the NDP, which promises to seek a solution and provide safe, quality housing for Métis families. The NDP claims it will address such issues, including chronic overcrowding and the mould crisis, through the co-developing of strategies with Métis communities.
The NDP is committed to the protection of the environment and addressing the climate crisis, and will co-develop policy by working alongside Métis leadership. When making decisions on climate change efforts in Canada, the NDP has promised Métis leaders will be given a seat at high-level decision making tables and that their local communities needs will be prioritized.
The Green party welcomes a genuine nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, including the Métis, and promises to respect Indigenous sovereignty over self-governed and self-determined lands. According to their statements, the Green party fully supports the self-government agreements between Canada and Indigenous governments. As part of the nation-to-nation relationship, the Green government will ground policy in the UNDRIP doctrine of free, prior and informed consent.
The Green party has also pledged to work with the Métis National Council and Congress of Aboriginal Peoples to meet the Supreme Court decision in Daniels v Canada by providing funding and support for necessary actions.
The Green party proposes a Council of Canadian Governments, which would include representatives from Métis governments, to assist in improving policy coherence and optimizing public spending in regards to higher order policy priorities.
Cultural revitalization and healing is also a priority for the Green party, which maintains that Métis children must be able to access quality educational opportunities. The Green party also proposes an increase in funding for educational programs, by removing the two percent funding cap and fully funding the program backlog. The revitalization of cultural works and languages of Métis peoples are also supported by the Green party, which will also work towards the education of non-Indigenous Canadians on the histories, customs and culture of the Indigenous peoples.
The Conservative Party
Has not yet released any proposals specific to Métis.
While it is not specifically mentioned in any election platforms, on June 27, 2019 the Government of Canada signed the ground breaking Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (“Agreement”) that sets a new government-to-government relationship between Canada and Ontario Métis.
The Agreement provides the MNO with long sought after federal recognition of its self-government by immediately recognizing that the Métis communities represented by the MNO have the right of self-government. This upfront rights recognition is unique among self-government agreements that Canada has negotiated with other Indigenous communities.
The Agreement also recognizes Métis jurisdiction and law-making power in the core self-government areas such as citizenship, leadership selection and internal operations.
It is expected that whatever party forms the next Government of Canada will honour this Agreement and support the Métis Nation of Ontario as it pursues the next steps on the transition from its current form to an Indigenous government recognized in Canadian law.
We encourage all of our citizens to participate in this year’s federal election to ensure that their voices are heard. We also remind MNO citizens that they may use their MNO Citizenship cards as form of recognized identification at the polls.
Posted October 16, 2019
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